Dry Landscape Gardens Added to Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion


Artistic designs raked in fine gravel around carefully placed boulders offer peaceful settings for contemplation gardens. Known as karesansui (pronounced car-uh-san-swee), the dry landscape gardens are a centuries-old tradition in Japan but rare in the United States. Soon, however, Oak Ridge will have its own karesansui garden. As landscaping begins around the International Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion in Oak Ridge, the Japanese karesansui gardens will lend a distinctive and contemplative element to the Oak Ridge landmark.

Introducing the gardens to Oak Ridge will be Martin McKellar, retired from the University of Florida International Center and now a volunteer as the Asian garden specialist at the university’s art museum. He will present a public talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, on “Dry Landscape Gardens around the World and in Oak Ridge” at the University of Tennessee Arboretum auditorium, 901 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge.

The karesansui gardens at the Friendship Bell site will be maintained by volunteers who learn the skills to create the designs and maintain the gardens for the city. McKellar will also hold four-hour training sessions for volunteers interested in designing, raking and taking care of the Oak Ridge karesansui gardens on at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, and at 8:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

Anyone interested in volunteering, whether you like gardening, design, or the Friendship Bell, may e-mail hporder@comcast.net for more information about the training and to sign up in advance for the sessions.

Dry landscape gardens near the Friendship Bell will include the Karesansui Contemplation Garden with a formal design, offering a quiet space to sit and view the garden and the Bell beyond it. A second area will be a play and practice karesansui, where children, adults and volunteers will have the opportunity to create designs as they hone their skills in design and raking.

WATCH: Pat Postma speaks to WATE about dry landscape gardens surrounding the Friendship Bell